Hirst paintings given the thumbs-down



2015-06-26 11:42:03

Hirst paintings given the thumbs-down

Critics have called them 'shockingly bad', but will this stop collectors from spending money?

As we reported recently, artist Damien Hirst's famous works are starting to be valued highly again after a year of selling at more conservative prices.

At the same time, Hirst has been experimenting with a radical idea: painting.

Hirst's new works, The Blue Paintings, have been exhibited in The Wallace. Thegallery is a deliberately provocative choice as it is generally better known for its classic, even conservative, selection of works.

In other words, Tracey Emin's bed has never graced its halls.

No formaldehyde has been used in Hirst's new paintings. But familiar themes are present -especially death, with skulls and sets of sharks' teethfeatured in the works.

However, the critics have not been impressed, and have compared Hirst unfavourably to his acknowledged influence Francis Bacon.

London'sTimesnewspaper was particularly sharp, stating flatly that Hirst's works have no business being in the same building as the Old Masters,even describing the whole show as "shockingly bad".

The Daily Telegraphwas a little kinder, suggesting that the works have "impact as a group" but lack detail and don't stand up to too much scrutiny.

Thebad reviewsmay not surprise Hirst very much.He doesn't rate his own painting abilitiestoo highly - althoughapparently highly enough to hanghis worksin a gallery more used to Titian and Rembrandt.

For now, the questionremainswhether the negative presswill turn collectors and investors away from the works. Perhaps.

Although it is worth remembering that Hirst's early works were not initially welcomed by conventional artists, but eventually came to be valued by the marketafter attracting Charles Saatchi.

In all likelihood, acollector who likes Hirst's themes - or thinks that someone else will - is unlikely to be put off by bad reviews.

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